Within hours ofNancy Pelosi proclaiming, “After a year of debate and hearing the calls of millions of Americans we have come to this historic moment. Today we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform for all Americans that is a right and not a privilege.”
TheRepublican National Committeelaunched a web site called “FirePelosi.com” aimed at raising money to campaign against 40 House Democrats. The 40-hour fundraising campaign (recently extended for 24 hours due to the initial success) has raised $1,297,597. This fundraising effort underscores the Speaker‘s falteringapproval ratings.
What is truly remarkable about this effort is that the Republicans are showing their new media expertise. If we reflect on the last year and half, the campaigns of Virginia’s GovernorBob McDonnell, New Jersey’s GovernorChris Christieand Massachusetts’ SenatorScott Brownutilized the new media tools and fundraising efforts revolutionized by the campaign of President Barack Obama. The leveling of this new technological playing field means that 2010 will be very interesting.
"Chalk Board" Humor
Perhaps we are about a week late touching on this topic, but in case, you have not seen this clever idea fromMoveOn.org. Glenn Beckhas become somewhat of a polarizing figure in the political debate in America, especially on the left side of the aisle. Therefore, the MoveOn.org crowd in cahoots withBrave New FilmsandSEIUhas created a personalized web video that puts your name on the infamousBeck “Chalk Board.”(Click the previous link for the application) The site also posts automatically to your Facebook account if you choose. Regardless of you political leaning, it is a humorous application.
When it comes to passing (or maybe killing) an issue in the legislative process, the first thing that comes to mind is to hire a lobbyist(s) to pursue the issue. But often times those wanting to pass or kill an issue forget who was responsible for electing the legislators that are casting the votes in committee or on final passage. Who am I talking about? The voters/constituents. And they aren't necessarily for hire or even in the halls of the state Capitol. A sound strategy will include the use of lobbyists, strategic communications and media, but a key ingredient to tie it all together is the use of good, old fashioned grassroots.
Most everyone is familar with the use of a lobbyist. They are the experts in the halls of most Capitals. Some might have served in the legislature which they now lobby. Others come from the ranks of professional staff. And then there are those that are experts in a particular subject area. When a lobbyist is hired, you are buying access to their rolodex and expertise. Their insider knowledge and ability to move the ball is critical to a clients needs by knowing the pitifalls and history of an issue. Access to Leadership, Committee Chairs and top staff comes with the territory, but what a insider might not be able to bring to the table is the ability to move constituents.
When most think about grassroots and grasstops, the first thing that comes to mind is a candidate campaign. But just like a candidate works local groups and individuals for support on election day, the same methods can be true for influencing issues. While the lobbyist has the activity covered in the state Capital, the coordination of a grassroots and grasstops campaign back in the legislative districts can solidify the passage or defeat of an issue. By targeting key constituents and supporters, you help persuade the actions of that hometown Legislator. It is one thing to tell a hired gun that they support or oppose an issue, but when a Legislator begins to get communications from folks in their backyard - now you have their undivided attention.
So the next time an issue goes to committee or for floor action, take an active approach by identifying key constituents and activate a grassroots campaign. Do you have the tools to conduct a grassroots campaign as part of your strategy to pass or defeat an issue?
The Republican contest for US Senate in Florida is turning into one dirty (er, hairy) war. With a little more than 5 months left until the primary, the attacks are already flying between the Crist and Rubio camps on a daily basis. Last night on Greta Van Susteren’s show, Charlie Crist accused Marco Rubio of being a back waxer and implied that his own $11 haircut makes him a fiscal conservative.
No doubt about it, Charlie Crist has been caught off guard by Rubio’s early rise to front-runner status and is looking a little desperate. Rubio has taken full advantage of Crist’s moderate leadership, most notably his embrace (literally) of Obama’s stimulus bill.
Crist had a tough week. His final State of the State address received only a lukewarm response by Republican legislators, often getting the most applause and praise from the Democrats. This weekend the NY Times called Crist’s plan to save the Everglades “on track to rescue the fortunes of United States Sugar” and Jeb Bush said “there has been a replacement of science based environmental policy for photo-op environmental policy.” Finally, just before his odd charges on Van Susteren’s show, Senator John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee who last summer made a controversial decision to endorse Crist in the primary, told reporters that Crist “seemed like the ideal candidate” because of his fundraising abilities, but “This had nothing to do with Marco Rubio, whom I subsequently met and have a lot of respect for.”
On the other hand, Rubio has risen to the top faster than anticipated and it’s not yet clear if he’s ready to handle the scrutiny that comes with front runner status. Regardless of how the private American Express bills from the Republican Party of Florida were leaked, he was unprepared, at one point claiming “There was no formal process provided by the party regarding personal charges.” One would think in his position, a formal process wouldn’t be necessary to differentiate personal versus business charges. It also revealed he double billed taxpayers and the Republican Party for not one, but eight plane tickets during his tenure as Speaker of the House. He is repaying those costs but it makes you wonder what if those documents had not been released and gives voters the uneasy sense that he’s just like all the rest.
The polls don’t look good for Crist but don’t underestimate him. He is a fighter and a veteran campaigner. This race is certain to tighten up once again. One thing is for sure, this will all make for some interesting political mail and tv in the coming months!
My advice to all candidates and politicians alike is this. If you govern and lead from a base of solid values and policies, even when it’s not popular or politically expedient, you will never have a problem defending your decisions later. Know who you are before trying to sell it to someone else.
By now, we have all heard of the Tea Party movement. I like to believe the Tea Party movement is an assortment of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents with one binding mentality– the government no longer represents them or their interest.
President Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
The peaceful gatherings and raising of voices this summer helped slow down the health care reform process. This collection of in-tune political participants became a force to be reckon with, but the question is – how much of a force?
Politico ran an article this weekend titled, “Tea party candidates falling short.” The underlying question posed in the article was “can an organic and fledgling movement that lacks the institutional grounding and top down organizational strength of either major political party transfer protest-oriented grass-roots energy into tangible success at the polls.”
Outside of the snarky tone of the post by Alex Isenstadt, I think Alex misses the accomplishments of the Tea Party thus far. They are simply raising the bar of discourse in this country. They are challenging Republicans to re-discover their conservative roots or face a tough primary. They are forcing transparency and openness in a federal government controlled by one party. They are making politicians answer their questions; otherwise face a potential public relations snafu.
Although, the Tea Party might not have electoral success this year – given the two-party system, they are steps ahead any other recent third party movement in this country. Just think about how many timesRalph Naderhas been on the ballot.
As this contentious 2010 election cycle moves forward, it will be very interesting to see the impact made by the Tea Party.
What sort of impact do you see the Tea Party having in 2010?
If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing what Texas Governor Perry did to win the Republican primary outright this past Tuesday. With Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchinson, a well-known and fairly popular sitting United States Senator and Debra Medina, the Libertarian candidate in the race, the conventional wisdom was that no one would get the 50% plus one to avoid a run-off.
Last week, Matt Bales, Cornerstone’s New Media and Political Director, blogged about Governor Rick Perry’s social media prowess ---which was indeed a significant part of his campaign. And while I think the good governor did some things online to help win; it was his message that won the day. (It’s always the message by the way).
Governor Perry‘s message zeroed in on jobs and the economy. He artfully relayed to voters that, under his leadership, Texas has billions in the bank, has gained jobs this year (while most states have no money in the bank, and have lost jobs this year). He added icing on the cake with an anti-Washington sentiment which everyone responds well to these days. Put it all together, and there was something for every Texas Republican primary voter---from the most conservative to the moderate. For example, here’s an add TV ad he ran.
What Perry did online, along with other online trailblazers like Governor McDonnell in Virginia and Senator Brown of Massachusetts, is impressive and part of the on-going evolution of the modern day campaign. But like Brown and McDonnell, Rick Perry had a good message. The point is, there simply is not enough online or offline tools and tactics to make up for a bad message (or a poor candidate). It’s the fundamental part of a campaign that will never change.
We work hard with all our clients---candidate, ballot or corporate---to make sure they have a solid message. We spend a lot of time and effort crafting the message. Having a solid message that resonates is the foundation from which every successful campaign is built.
Governor Rick Perry’s Get-Out-The-Vote effort utilized every new media tool, even Craigslist. Conservative activist Debra Medina dutifully retweeted every kind word, reiterating her ability to listen to the voters. The Texas Primary reflects the inclusion of new media tools as a staple in campaign strategy.
These new media technologies are inexpensive and quick and allow campaigns to reach a far greater number of in-tune voters in near real-time. Campaigns are adjusting to the ability to talk to a voter 5 to 10 times a day as compared to the single touch point of older outreach tools.
As technology advances and society turn to their cell phones and the internet for their information, campaigns must strongly consider the inclusion of social media into their budgets. This is an easy way to great a rewarding bang for your buck.
In contrast, it is imperative to note that direct mail, telephone calls, radio and TV ads and other traditional campaign tools will continue to reign. Not all voters have immersed themselves in this technological and societal shift, but the number is rapidly growing.
What is your new media strategy for 2010? How much of your budget are you putting into this technological shift?
Posted Mar 2, 2010 by Wayne Bertsch |
Comments ( 7 )
| Filed in: General, Politics
What might we learn from the Texas March 2, Primary for Governor
My typical morning routine is waking up and driving my boys to school. During that 20 minute roundtrip, we are tuned into our local NPR station WFSU 88.9 where I get an idea of what's ahead for the day in news for the nation, state and of course locally. The morning national news on Wednesday, February 23, was regarding the upcoming March 2 Republican Primary for Governor pitting sitting Gov. Rick Perry against US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Tea Party Activist Debra Medina. The topic is two-fold, how do two entrenched politicians say that they are the "outsiders" and what impact do the "Tea Partiers" bring into the mix?
The latest Rasmussen polling of likely Republican primary voters finds Perry leading Hutchinson 48% to 27%, and Medina earning 16% of the vote. Nine percent (9%) of Texas GOP voters remain undecided. What's most interesting about the dynamics of this race is that Perry and Hutchinson have the most baggage to carry since they are currently elected and seen as part of the problem. The negative attacks, as one would expect, are already in full throttle between Perry and Hutchinson. And when they're not attacking one another, their message is what they have done "for and about" Texas, even if meant supporting or voting for populist issues but not necessarily of Republican values and principles. Which begs the question, will those attacks soften Perry and Hutchison leaners and undecides to swing to Medina? If that is to happen, and as the pundits have suggested, that boost would send Medina into a run-off against Perry, therefore setting up a run-off that will invite more questions into defining what type of candidate Republicans will support.
The other curiosity of this race is what will be the impact of the Tea Partiers? Today, Tea Party activists are generally made up of conservative Republicans and Independents (Independents are not necessarily the party itself but would include Non Affiliated Voters), but those not registered as Republicans will not be voting in the Primary. These activists tend to trend against the incumbent of their own party and for to the outsider. Medina has fit herself comfortably in that role.
By this evening, March 2nd, voters will either see a trend of supporting real outsider candidates or more of the same. Time will tell, but would you be willing to support the outsider?